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This Brand of Canned Water 'Chicagwa' Is Made from Pure Chicago Tap Water

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Initiative highlights Chicago’s access to Lake Michigan’s nearly endless supply of water with campaign from Quality Meats

This Brand of Canned Water 'Chicagwa' Is Made from Pure Chicago Tap Water

When you think about Chicago, you might think of sports teams or iconic foods or brutally cold winters. Well, now the city of Chicago wants you to think of its enormous supply of clean drinking water too. The mayor’s office, in partnership with Chicago’s Water Department, has announced a new campaign branding Chicago’s tap water as 'Chicagwa'. They’ve even created a limited run of cans of Chicagwa, all to bring awareness to Chicago’s proximity to - and rich history with - the vast source of water at its shoreline.

"The beauty of our lake isn't the only thing we should admire about it - it's also an almost endless water source with more than enough to keep generations upon generations of Chicagoans hydrated," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "Thanks to all our City's Water Department does to turn it into clean, refreshing drinking water, we are able to enjoy the lake in more ways than one."

The limited run of cans feature six different designs, created by a diverse group of local Chicago street artists (Don’t Fret, Anthony Lewellen, Joey Depakakibo, Kate Lewis, Langston Allston, and Elloo) in a range of styles to represent the diversity of the city.

“This initiative celebrates Chicago’s extremely important closeness to one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world,” said Michael Fassnacht, Chicago’s chief marketing officer and CEO of World Business Chicago. "Instead of doing a traditional advertising campaign, we thought it would be much more engaging to honor our city's unique water story by launching our own water brand.”

At a launch event in front of Chicago’s historic Water Tower, enshrined with Chicagwa banners, Mayor Lightfoot unveiled the brand this week to coincide with National Drinking Water Week, handing out cans of Chicagwa along Michigan Avenue. The city also released a humorous short film announcing Chicagwa, narrated by Chicago TikTok historian Sherman “Dilla” Thomas, along with a website featuring educational resources and tools for local businesses and Chicagoans to help promote Chicagwa.

The initiative, created by Chicago creative agency Quality Meats, also includes a series of digital billboards running throughout Chicago. All elements of the campaign were produced locally, from the production of the cans at a local brewery to the can photography to the film and website design. Quality Meats is part of the Mayor’s By Chicago, For Chicago initiative – a commitment to dedicate a percentage of all hours worked towards non-profit, social and cultural organizations and City agencies.

The cans will be available immediately for free at local Chicago businesses including the Weiner’s Circle, Manny’s Delicatessen and more, and the city plans to distribute them at various events throughout the city this summer. It’s all part of Chicago’s broader campaign, “Chicago. City of Stories,” led by Fassnacht, which aims to change the brand perception of Chicago, bolster resident pride, and attract new residents, businesses, and tourists. Previous efforts included last Cannes Grand Prix Winner 'Boards Of Change' and this year’s 'Chicago Not In Chicago'. 

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Client: The City of Chicago

Creative Agency: Quality Meats

Co-CCO: Gordy Sang

Co-CCO: Brian Siedband

Director of Production: Kacey Hart

Account Director: David Kaplan

Can Art: Don’t Fret, Anthony Lewellen, Joey Depakakibo, Kate Lewis, Langston Allston, and Elloo

Photography: Breakfast For Dinner


Website Design: Paul Santiago

OOH Design: Maggie Famiglietti

Logo Design: Benjamin Marasco

Film Production: BMP Film Co.

Executive Producer: Benjamin Mahoney

Producer: Erin Zeller

Director/DP: Alex Pennachia

Audio Tech: Grayson Rieth

Editor: David Wall

Color: Matt Phillips

VFX: Tyler Nathan

Music: Asche and Spencer

Audio Engineer: Evan Graham Dunn

Mix: Tom Haigh

Voiceover Talent: Shermann "Dilla" Thomas

Cans Bottled by Great Central Brewing Company
Quality Meats, Wed, 04 May 2022 14:12:51 GMT